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RecruitingLast updated: 30 November 2023

VADER: This phase II study is trying to determine whether combining valproic acid (sodium valproate) to targeted therapy (panitumumab or cetuximab) is more effective than compared targeted therapy alone in people with RAS wild type metastatic bowel cancerA Phase II Randomised Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Combining the HDAC Inhibitor Sodium Valproate With EGFR Monoclonal Antibody (Panitumumab or Cetuximab) Maintenance in the First-line Treatment of Patients With RAS Wild Type Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (CRC)

Clinical summary


Eligible participants will be randomly allocated to either the Experimental or Active Comparator Arm.

In the Experimental Arm, participants will receive either panitumumab (6mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks) or cetuximab (500mg/m2 intravenously every 2 weeks), plus sodium valproate, orally, in a twice daily dose.

In the Active Comparator Arm, participants will receive either panitumumab (6mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks) or cetuximab 500mg/m2 intravenously every 2 weeks).


This trial is treating patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC)


Bowel Cancers Lower gastrointestinal tract





Trial Acronym


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Trial Identifiers

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Trial sponsor

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute

Scientific Title

A Phase II Randomised Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Combining the HDAC Inhibitor Sodium Valproate With EGFR Monoclonal Antibody (Panitumumab or Cetuximab) Maintenance in the First-line Treatment of Patients With RAS Wild Type Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (CRC)



  1. Age ≥ 18 years.
  2. Histological diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
  3. Metastatic colorectal cancer that is being treated with non-curative intent. This may be because the disease is anatomically not resectable, resection is contra-indicated for any reason, or the patient refuses resection.
  4. Measurable disease as assessed by CT scan (by RECIST 1.1).
  5. Evidence of RAS wild type status (KRAS exons 2, 3 and 4 and NRAS exons 2, 3, and 4) as assessed by the investigators' choice of testing laboratory.
  6. ECOG performance status 0, 1.
  7. Suitable, as deemed by the investigator, for maintenance treatment with panitumumab or cetuximab alone or in combination with oral sodium valproate.
  8. Completed four months of first-line induction treatment with fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy (which may be intravenous or oral, in which case 15 weeks of treatment is required; and either alone or in combination with oxaliplatin or irinotecan) and anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody (panitumumab or cetuximab) without progressive disease.
  9. Prior palliative radiotherapy is allowed, provided that (i) no concurrent chemotherapy was administered, (ii) at least 2 weeks after completion of therapy has elapsed before enrolment, and (iii) any toxicities have resolved or are Grade 1. Prior fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy given concurrent with radiation as neoadjuvant treatment for rectal cancer is allowed.
  10. Adequate hepatic function with serum total bilirubin < x1.5 upper limit of normal range and ALT or AST < x3 upper limit of normal range.
  11. Adequate bone marrow function with platelets ≥ 80 X 109/L; neutrophils ≥ 1.5 X 109/L; haemoglobin ≥ 8g/dL.
  12. Adequate renal function, with calculated creatinine clearance ≥ 50 mL/min.
  13. Any abnormalities in magnesium are not > Grade 2. Any abnormalities in total calcium are not > Grade 1. Total calcium should be corrected for albumin level as per the institution's usual calculation method. Serum potassium levels should be above 4.0 mmol/L.
  14. Archival formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumour tissue is available for storage and use by the central laboratory.
  15. Life expectancy of at least 12 weeks.
  16. Women and partners of women of childbearing potential must agree to use adequate contraception uninterrupted for the duration of receiving VPA, cetuximab and panitumumab, and for an additional 2 months after the last dose of cetuximab and 6 months after the last dose of panitumumab. Adequate contraceptive measures are barrier methods (condoms, diaphragm); oral, injectable, or implant birth control; or abstinence.
  17. Willing and able to comply with all study requirements, including treatment, timing and/or nature of required assessments.
  18. Written informed consent including consent for donation of tumour tissue for biomarker studies and collection of peripheral blood for research.


  1. BRAFV600E mutant CRC.
  2. CRC with HER2 IHC score of 3+. Note that IHC evaluation for HER2 amplification is required for determining eligibility. HER2 testing using ISH is not required.
  3. Prior chemotherapy before first-line induction chemotherapy. Exceptions are adjuvant chemotherapy which was given in association with (i) complete resection of primary colon or rectal cancer provided there is no clinical, radiological or biochemical evidence of relapse for at least 6 months after completion of adjuvant treatment, and/or (ii) complete resection of limited colorectal metastases to liver and/or lung provided there is no clinical, radiological or biochemical evidence of relapse for at least 6 months after completion of adjuvant treatment.
  4. History of life-threatening hypersensitivity reactions to panitumumab or cetuximab, or any product excipients of panitumumab or cetuximab.
  5. Known hypersensitivity to sodium valproate.
  6. Any other contraindication/s to sodium valproate including mitochondrial disorders and urea cycle disorders.
  7. Pre-existing acute or chronic hepatic dysfunction or family history of severe hepatitis
  8. Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus are eligible, however the investigator should discuss the potential risk of immune disorders with the participant, which have been noted only exceptionally during the use of VPA.
  9. Patients with long QT syndrome, or QTc interval duration > 480 msec, or use of concomitant medications that significantly prolong the QTc interval.
  10. Prior or current treatment with HDAC inhibitor or compounds with HDAC inhibitor-like activity, including hydroxamic acid (e.g vorinostat/zolinza, panobinostat/farydak. Belinostat/beleodaq), benzamide (tucidinostat/epidaza/chidamide), cyclic tetrapeptide (Romidepsin/Istodax) or carboxylic acid (e.g sodium valproate, phenylbutyrate) based HDAC inhibitors.
  11. Active treatment with sodium valproate for non-oncological conditions.
  12. Active epilepsy or convulsive conditions that require continuous use of anticonvulsants.
  13. History of interstitial lung disease or pulmonary fibrosis.
  14. Leptomeningeal disease as the only manifestation of malignancy.
  15. Untreated/active CNS metastases (i.e., progressing, requiring ongoing corticosteroids or anticonvulsants for symptom control).

    Patients with CNS metastases are eligible if they have previously been successfully treated with surgery and/or radiotherapy at least 8 weeks prior to cycle 1 day 1, have ceased taking all corticosteroids and/or anticonvulsants for at least 4 weeks and if imaging within 4 weeks of cycle 1 day 1 excludes any progression.

  16. Invasive malignant disease, other than CRC, diagnosed within 2 years of randomisation.

    Patients with non-melanotic skin cancer, carcinoma in situ of the uterine cervix, or any other cancer which was treated with curative intent > 2 years prior to randomisation and without evidence of relapse, are eligible.

  17. Active infection requiring systemic therapy and/or other concurrent uncontrolled medical conditions.
  18. Positive pregnancy test prior to the initiation of the study medications.
  19. History or current evidence of any condition, therapy, or laboratory abnormality that might confound the results of the trial, interfere with the subject's participation for the full duration of the trial, or is not in the best interest of the subject to participate.
  20. Medical, psychiatric conditions or any other reason that, as assessed by the investigator, may compromise the patient's ability to give informed consent or to comply with the protocol-specified treatments and assessments.


  • You are able to swallow medication by mouth.
  • You have had a certain type of treatment or surgical procedure.
  • Your cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.
  • Your cancer has spread to other parts of the body.


  • You have certain types of non-cancer medical conditions.
  • You have had certain treatments, surgical procedures or drugs.

Clinical trials have complex eligibility criteria.

Ask your doctor if this trial could be right for you.

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